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The Reformation Must Not Be Reversed

The Reformation Must Not Be Reversed
By Mike Gendron

During the month of October, it is good to remember The Five Solas that sparked the Reformation 506 years ago. Each of the solas was a response to the heretical teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura declares Scripture as the highest source of authority in faith and practice. Sola Fide affirms that justification is through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Sola Gratia affirms that sinners are saved by the gift of God’s grace alone. Sola Christo emphasizes the exclusivity of Christ’s role in salvation. And Soli Deo Gloria declares that God alone is to receive all glory and praise and honor!

Why Are Evangelicals Reversing the Reformation?

Many evangelicals have either forgotten the Reformation or believe it was a mistake that divided the church. It is heartbreaking to see that many pastors are not contending for the Gospel truths for which many Reformers gave their lives defending. A growing number of evangelicals are joining hands with the Roman Catholic Church to reverse the Reformation and reunite all Christians together. They have jumped on the pope’s ecumenical bandwagon to help him build his global religion. In doing so, they are compromising the Gospel and disobeying God (2 Cor. 6:14-18). The ecumenical movement has hit the professing church like a tidal wave and Christians are being swept away because they are following Christian personalities instead of the Word of God.

Luther Exposed Rome’s Heretical Teachings

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. It was a 16th century version of a provocative blog post that was intended to invite discussion, which it did. Luther became the center of a great controversy when his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Luther’s initial protest exposed the pope’s abominable practice of selling salvation from purgatory’s fire for the price of indulgences. Two days later, Catholics would be observing All Souls Day in the Castle Church, which had over 1900 relics of dead saints on display. Indulgences for the remission of sins were granted if they viewed the relics and confessed their sins to a priest. Catholics observe All Souls Day to help the souls suffering in the purifying fires of Purgatory. It is said to be the principal means by which the Church fulfills its great responsibility of charity for the dead.

The Source of Rome’s Trilogy of Deception

The diabolical lies of purgatory and indulgences are linked to the first lie of Satan in the Garden of Eden when he promised Eve she would not die if she disobeyed God (Gen. 3:4). The Catholic clergy perpetuates the lie of the devil by declaring you will not die if you commit “venial sins.” Instead of death, you only experience temporal punishment in the fires of purgatory. The remission of this temporal punishment can be obtained through indulgences. This trilogy of deception is the safety net for Catholics, who do not know that the punishment for all sin in death and separation from God (Ez. 18:4; Rom. 6:23).

Why Was the Reformation Necessary?

As the Reformers were abiding in God’s Word, they realized the Catholic Church was under divine condemnation for preaching a distorted Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Catholicism was (and still is) distorting God’s Gospel of grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. They distorted the Gospel by adding requirements for salvation including sacraments, good works, keeping the law, purgatory and indulgences. This corruption of the Gospel continues to lead Catholics down the wide road to destruction (Mat. 7:13). As God opened the eyes of the Reformers to see the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ, they began proclaiming it and calling Catholics to repentance.

Rome’s corruption of the Gospel included using its heretical priesthood to continue on an altar what Christ’s finished work of redemption accomplished on a cross. This was an outright rejection of the Lord’s victory cry on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Reformers knew from Scripture that Jesus died once, for all sin, for all time and there are no more offerings for sin (Hebrews 10:12, 14, 18). Since the altar was no longer needed, the Reformers replaced it with a pulpit and the Word of God became the central focus of worship.

What Did the Reformation Accomplish?

The Reformers reestablished the Word of God as the supreme authority for faith. They also reestablished the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Head of His Church, which He purchased with His own blood (Eph. 1:22; Acts 20:28). Additionally, they rejected the pope as the head of the church. In fact, Martin Luther declared, “We are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist. I declare that I owe the pope no other obedience than that of Antichrist.”

The Reformers also made the Bible available to the people in their own language. People soon discovered they could be saved by reading the Bible unaided by priests and sacraments. The truth was setting them free from religious bondage. This caused the pope to put a stop to this mass exodus by once again putting the Bible on their list of forbidden books.

Another accomplishment was the recovery of the most important doctrine of justification, which Rome had distorted and, in doing so, given its people a false hope. Virtually every doctrinal error that has surfaced in the Catholic Church has been as a result of undermining the authority, reliability and sufficiency of Scripture. Wherever Scripture is not the supreme authority, Christ will be dishonored, His Gospel will be distorted, faith will be misplaced, the church will be ineffective and men will steal glory from God.

The Boldness and Courage of the Reformers

Luther’s bold courage and unwillingness to compromise is a great model for evangelicals today. When Emperor Charles V asked Luther to recant at the Diet of Worms, he responded, “I cannot submit my faith either to the Pope or to the Councils, because it is clear as day, they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture…I cannot and will not retract. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God, Amen.”

The Reformers were willing to sacrifice everything, including their own lives, to get the Word of God into the hands of the people. That is because God’s Word was the supernatural power and ultimate authority behind all that the Reformers said and did. Remember, it was ignorance of Scripture that made the Reformation necessary, and it was the recovery of the Scripture that made the Reformation possible. The enduring impact of the Reformation must not be reversed. Evangelicals must remain sanctified by the truth and submit to the authority of Scripture for the glory of God and the salvation of lost sinners.

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